Quantifying head and neck lymphoedema: A pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of objective measures in head and neck lymphoedema assessment

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Introduction: Head and neck lymphoedema (HNL) following head and neck cancer treatment is associated with functional deficits and reduced quality of life. There is currently no gold standard assessment for HNL. However, there are a variety of objective tools commonly used to assess limb lymphoedema that could be adapted. Methods: An assessment protocol was developed and used in a clinical setting, to examine 24 participants (14 with HNL). Five objective tools including infrared thermography, VapoMeter, MoistureMeter-D (MMD), Indurometer and surface tape measurements were included and examined for utility, reliability and validity in HNL assessment. Results: All tools demonstrated strong test-retest reliability (all r > 0.7). Participants with HNL had significantly higher tissue dielectric constant (MMD) than controls at the masseter zone (p = .016). None of the tools were able to consistently predict HNL diagnosis or distinguish between affected and controls. Conclusion: There is evidence of protocol utility and device reliability, but we did not find strong evidence of validity of these tools in detecting HNL. Validation in a larger sample is warranted. The study is currently ongoing.
Period28 May 2020
Event title13th National ALA Virtual Conference
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionNational